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Live Earth Farm (Com)Post
9th Harvest Week, Winter Season 5
February 14th - 20th, 2011
in this issue
What's in the box this week
Veggie box "Surprises"
Just another winter day at Live Earth Farm
Relationships make for more resilient farms
Please spread the word about LEF CSA
Vote for LEF in "Best Of" polls - Good Times & Santa Cruz Weekly
CSA Delivery Schedule
Members: make use of your online account!
Don't forget the webstore - only 2 more chances to order (this week and next) before Winter Season is over!
Notes from Debbie's Kitchen [Recipes!]
2011 Calendar

"Many of us who have been pursuing sustainable farming since before there was a Whole Foods or a National Organic Standards Board are realizing that the most important aspects of a healthy food system are relationships - interpersonal, biological, and ecological. Food shouldn't be just another fuel, grown out of sight by anonymous people, prepared and consumed as quickly as possible as if it were an inconvenience. Growing and eating food are sacred acts; we need to reclaim them from the scientists and the industrialists, the bureaucrats and the organicrats.
- Michael Ableman, from
Fields of Plenty   

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What's in the box this week

Content differences between Family and Small shares are in red; items with a "+" in one size share are more in quantity than in the other. For any items not from our farm, we will identify the source in parentheses. Occasionally content will differ from this list (typically we make a substitution), but we do our best to give you an accurate projection.

Winter Family Share
Fuji apples
Red beets
Broccoli (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Brussels sprouts



Red Russian Kale
Meyer lemons
Oyster mushrooms (Far West Fungi)

Wild mustard rapini

Dry-farmed Tomato Juice by Happy Girl Kitchen - the jar will be packed inside your box! Support the bag when you take it out of the box.

Winter Small Share
Fuji apples
Red beets
Broccoli (Lakeside Organic Gardens)
Brussels sprouts

White cauliflower

Red Russian kale
Oyster mushrooms (Far West Fungi)
Dry-farmed Tomato Juice by Happy Girl Kitchen - the jar will be packed inside your box! Support the bag when you take it out of the box.

Preserves Option
1 jar apricot jam
1 jar dilly beans

Bread Option
This week's bread will be plain whole wheat

Veggie box "Surprises"

Some of you may have noticed a few extra items in last week's boxes which were not on the veggie list, above. Both shares got Oyster mushrooms from Far West Fungi, and the Family Shares got the wild mustard rapini. These 'surprises' both went into the shareas after the newsletter went out, so the items were not mentioned in the list. Tom always likes to design well-rounded boxes, and sometimes things come to light rather last minute. With the mushrooms, he hadn't heard back from Far West Fungi in time for mentioning in the newsletter. The rapini was a different story, but another perfect example: Tom was walking the fields with Juanillo last Tuesday and saw a field of wild mustard, still in bud stage - perfect for rapini. He made the command decision right then to have it harvested to put into our boxes. As Tom says, 'surprises can go both ways'... so although sometimes there's a negative (some little 'pest' surprises in the brassicas, say, or a bad apple missed in the sorting), we hope you all will see the big picture and appreciate the little un-announced 'extras' such as the rapini and mushrooms which we include as well!

Just another winter day at Live Earth Farm
I wonder, sometimes, how much activity can be packed into a regular workday - especially in winter, when the days are still relatively short. Just last Thursday was a typical day here on the farm. Everybody got an early start to help load CSA shares into the delivery trucks. Luckily the strong winds we had earlier in the week had died down, so right after finishing a field planting of cauliflower, we  put the plastic roof on the new greenhouse. The priority of the day, though, was to plant the new pear orchard. Thanks to the diligent and hard work of Clemente, Jonathan, Jorge, Efrain, Alejandro, Pedro, Victor, and Juan, almost 2/3rds of the total 450 bare-rooted trees got planted in a single day. If it wasn't for my having pulled some of the guys out to help me finish the pruning on the plums, we might have finished the entire planting.

Sam Earnshaw, who wrote last week's article on hedgerows, came to take advantage of the beautiful day as well. Together with his group of helpers they planted three 200-ft rows of native shrubs, trees and grasses where once stood a row of ten old apple trees. The hedgerow will bisect two fields - one planted with raspberries, the other with garlic and onions. The timing of the hedgerow planting was perfect, as Thursdays are the days that the Wavecrest Montessori students are here on the farm, so they were able to lend a helping hand.

Meanwhile, Ruben and Juanillo spent a good part of the day spreading compost and preparing the field where this year's potato planting will go. An unexpected injury -- by Jorge, who perforated a finger with a rusty wire -- added unnecessary stress to an already busy day.

Secretly I am welcoming the rain forecast for this week. I am not complaining, but it's  only February and farming should be slower right now! With the coming of some rain, I am also relieved that I won't miss as much of the action here on the farm while I'm away visiting my mother for her 90th birthday.
Fields of winter crops
Beautiful fields of winter crops. 

- Tom

Relationships make for more resilient farms

No two farms are alike, however those that strive for long-term sustainability need to constantly pay attention to how to position the "farm organism" in such a way as to maximize its resilience. As Michael Abelman says so well in his book Fields of Plenty, "...the most important aspects of a healthy food system are relationships..." Our farm's resilience is directly related to the health of its relationships, whether biological, economic, or social. What is so empowering about local food systems is that people are not only beginning to reclaim their right to healthy food, but are also building these important relationships. Local food networks need to be healthy enough to challenge our supermarket culture, where the centralized control of our food supply is mostly dependent on long-distance and large-scale production and distribution networks.  Most of the food grown in this country is controlled by a small handful of folks who are making decisions about how we are fed. This centralized food system has impacted our health, and we now recognize that many of our most serious illnesses are diet related.

The resilience of our farm is therefore connected to having healthy relationships with a diverse network of local food producers, as well as with you, our participants.LEF community gathered for summer potluck Everyone should have access to a variety of healthy, fresh, and locally grown food and know where it is produced, by whom, and at what scale.

So I thank you for choosing to participate in Live Earth Farm's CSA, for becoming a member of our farm. You contribute to our resilience.

- Tom

Please spread the word about LEF CSA
We still have plenty of space for new CSA members for the season which starts this coming April, so please feel free to let friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers know about us. We would be happy to send you flyers you can post, or brochures for giving out to people. Or if you find yourself talking to someone about our CSA and they are interested, just direct them to our website. The only thing to remember is that we are at "live earth farm dot net" not "dot com" [i.e. www.liveearthfarm.net ] ;-)


Oh, and if you haven't renewed yet yourself, you do so by "joining" -- just go to our website and click on "Join" or "Become a member" and look for the "Sign up!" button. Or just click here to go directly to our signup wizard now!

Vote for LEF in "Best Of" polls - Good Times & Santa Cruz Weekly
Hey all you lovers and supporters of Live Earth Farm out there - here's a quick and painless way to demonstrate your support for our efforts: vote for Live Earth Farm (and the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program too!) in The Santa Cruz Weekly 2011 Gold Awards, and Good Times Best of Santa Cruz County 2001.

In the Santa Cruz Weekly Gold Awards, there are 8 pages of categories: on page 3 of 8, "Arts and Culture", there's an option called [best] "Kids art program" -- that might be the Live Earth Farm "Art on the Farm day camp"! Or on page 6 of 8, "Best of Community Life", there's an option for "Best non-profit group" -- how about the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program? There is no category for "Best Farm" or "Best CSA", but there IS a place where you can write one in: page 8 of 8 -- so how about "Best CSA - Live Earth Farm!"
Santa Cruz Weekly 2011 Gold Awards logo

In the Good Times Best of, there's also a best "Nonprofit Organization" - we're hoping that's the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program too ;-) There doesn't seem to be any category suitable for our CSA, and no 'make your own' like in the SC Weekly, but there is the "Hottest Trend"... and maybe that would be Community Supported Agriculture?
Good Times Santa Cruz "Best Of" 2011

Thanks folks - no obligation, just do it if you like, and have fun!

- Everyone at Live Earth Farm AND the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program.

CSA Delivery Schedule
Winter Season's close to being over -- just this week and next, and that's it!

Week 1 - December 2nd

Week 2 - December 9th

Week 3 - December 16th

<3 week break over Christmas/New Year's - happy holidays everyone!>

Week 4 - January 13th 2011

Week 5 - January 20th

Week 6 - January 27th

Week 7 - February 3rd

Week 8 - February 10th

Week 9 - February 17th
Week 10 - February 24th - last winter CSA!

<no deliveries the entire month of March>

The 2011 Regular Season then begins Weds/Thurs April 6th/7th


Members: make use of your online account!
If you have not checked out your online account yet, you should definitely do so! Anyone who has signed up for our CSA automatically has a member account. It's very easy to log in -- just go to our website and click on "Member Log In - Web Store":

Oh... THERE it is! ;-)

What's there?
<> Forgot the address of your pickup site? Check your account. It's there!
<> Need a map and directions to your pickup site? It's there too!
<> Forgot your pick-up day or time? Ditto.
<> Want to review what you're signed up for? Or which season? Or how much you've paid or what you've received so far? That's there too!
<> Want to know when your next delivery is scheduled for? Yup.
<> You can even see a history of anything you ordered through the webstore!

You can toggle your account by season too, so if you're getting a Winter Share but want to see what you signed up for in the 2011 Regular Season (or if you signed up for it), it will all be there. You can even see your history from prior seasons!

What else can I do using my account?
<> You can view and edit all your contact information. Have you moved? Changed your email address or phone numbers? You can update this all yourself, without contacting the farm. No muss, no fuss!
<> You can add an additional contact;
<> You can change your pick-up site;
<> You can even arrange to donate your share - just change your pick-up site to "Donations" by the end of day Monday for that week's delivery and we'll take care of it from there! (Do remember to go in and switch it back to your regular site when you're ready to pick up again. This will not happen automatically!) ;-)
<> You can add options to your share and pay for them on the spot;
<> Need to make an oddball payment to the farm? There's a "Make Payment" button.
<> And last but not least... you can access the webstore!

New features are added periodically, so log in occasionally just to see.

Don't forget the webstore - only 2 more chances to order (this week and next) before Winter Season is over!
Taylor has been working hard to keep the webstore stocked with goodies from local producers she thinks you guys would be interested in. Remember to order before Wednesday morning 6am (when the store "closes") so we can organize for packing and get your goodies to you with Thursday's delivery! Click on the image below to jump to the member login, then click on the "Webstore" tab in the upper left-hand corner.

LEF Webstore Week 9, Winter 2010

Notes from Debbie's Kitchen
Click here to go to the recipe database.     

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! - Debbie

First, I have a Brussels sprouts recipe for you which was sent to me last week by member Nicole Pullman. She says she's made this a few times and loves it.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  
Savory Sprouts with Avocado
from a recipe book on vegetarian cooking by Janet Swarbrick

Savory sprouts with avocado1 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts
1 tbsp. oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
3 tbsp. pine nuts or split blanched almonds
1 tsp. dried oregano
3 tbsp. raisins
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe avocados
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp. chopped mint or parsley

Trim and halve the sprouts. Steam for 2-3 minutes, then set aside.

Heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic, nuts oregano and raisins, with a good dash of salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, or until the onion is softened.

Meanwhile halve the avocados and remove their pots, then quarter the flesh and remove the peel. Cut into chunks and toss in the lemon juice.

Add the sprouts to the onion mixture and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until they are really hot. Stir in the avocados and parsley or mint, then cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, or until the avocado is hot and slightly creamy. Serve at once.

I know we don't get the box until a few days after Valentine's Day, but if you want to impress your sweetie anyway, consider making this wonderful rich cake... complete with a secret ingredient which no one but you need to know about! I originally ran this recipe way back in 2001, but it is still a winner!

Chocolate Beet Cake
courtesy of member Valerie Neer, modified slightly

1 1/4 C beet puree (see below)
3 eggs
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C cocoa powder
1 1/2 C sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

The beet puree can be made ahead of time. Basically, cook them any way you like... boil, bake, whatever, then puree them. A 'done' beet can be easily pierced with a fork or knife tip. The fastest way to cook beets, however, is in a pressure cooker. Scrub but do not peel them, and cook over an inch or two of water (at least 2 C of water for large beets), at high pressure for 11-13 min for small (3-4 oz) beets, or 20 - 22 min for med to large beets (5-6 oz)*. After they're cooked and cool enough to handle, cut off stems and root and slip off skins. Cut cooked beets into chunks and puree in a blender or food processor. If your puree is too 'dry', you can probably add a tiny bit of water or beet cooking water, but only enough to make it whirl. It should be pretty thick. When I made my puree, I was short quantity-wise, and so I simply added some homemade apple butter to make up the difference (don't be afraid to be creative, I say!). Also, if you are the type of person who likes substituting some whole-wheat flour into recipes that call for regular flour, add a touch more baking soda to compensate (for example, I used 1C white and 1/2C whole wheat flour, & added 1/8 tsp. baking soda to amount shown). Okay, here's the rest of the recipe instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F
Grease and dust with flour a bundt pan (or 8-9" square pan). In a large bowl, beat eggs. Whisk in sugar, oil, vanilla, salt & beet puree. In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa and soda. Add to wet ingredients a little at a time until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 45 - 50 min., or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool and serve (with sliced strawberries & ice cream -- mmmmm!!).

*this information courtesy of a wonderful cookbook called "Cooking Under Pressure" by Lorna J. Sass

I ran this next recipe a few years back, but it is absolutely delicious and rich - perfect for what's in the box this week! We've got the mushrooms, we've got Meyer lemons, and we all got at least one jar of crushed dry-farmed tomatoes in our cupboards from Happy Girl Kitchen!

Penne with Oyster Mushrooms in Garlic and Lemon Cream Sauce
serves 4 to 6

8 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 lbs. fresh oyster mushrooms, stems trimmed, tops wiped clean as needed [you can either scale down the recipe (we're only getting 1 lb), or be satisfied with less mushrooms in the overall recipe, which would not be the end of the world]
4 tbsp. minced or pressed garlic
3 C heavy cream [don't use ultra-pasteurized! Yuck!]
4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice [use those Meyer lemons!!]
1 C tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced [use a jar of crushed dry-farmed -- don't go out and buy out-of-season tomatoes]
1 lb. penne rigate
¾ C grated asiago cheese

Melt butter, saute mushrooms until soft; add garlic and cook for a minute. Add cream, turn heat up, bring mixture to a medium simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by about half (15-20 minutes). Lower heat, stir in lemon juice and tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Cook penne in a large pot of boiling salted water, according to package directions. Drain thoroughly, and combine with sauce and asiago in a large bowl. Serve immediately with additional grated asiago or parmesan.

Lastly, I'm going to continue my push to infect everyone with the 'fermentation bug'! This is so much fun, people, and anyone can do this. Lacto-fermented veggies are so good for you, I can't stress this enough. Anyway, I put my money where my mouth was and made the 'simple fermented veggies' I ran in the newsletter three weeks ago. Documented it with pictures. Here are the veggies and proportions I used, and the timing. It came out great; like garlic pickles! Only not 'cucumber' pickles - other veggies, but just as sour and garlicky.

Simple fermented veggies, continued
Take a peek  at "Simple fermented veggies" from Winter Week 6, then return here, if you want the background.

Romanesco cauliflower florets (could substitute any cauliflower)
Broccolini florets (could substitute any broccoli)
1 celery root, peeled, sliced, then cut crosswise into segments
a couple carrots, peeled and cut into small segments
1 watermelon radish, scrubbed clean (or peel carefully), cut in half then sliced thinly into half-moons
several cloves of garlic, either left whole or cut in half if large
[I was going to put in peppercorns too, but I forgot! They'd just add, well, spice!]
[And in this particular ferment, I didn't add any cabbage at all -- although there were brassicas in there]

Brine: 1 tbsp. low-mineral pure sea salt (i.e. no anti-caking agents -- check ingredients list. Yes, salt will have an ingredients list, believe it or not!) per 1 C filtered water (don't use tap; tap water contains chlorine, which will inhibit or kill the beneficial lactobacillus we want to encourage!) Dissolve the salt fully in the water to make the brine.
[I think I made 3 cups of brine in the end]

Step 1 - cut up veggies and put in a bowl or non-reactive pot that will contain them and submerge them in brine. Weight them down in some fashion and let sit overnight. Mine soaked a little over 24hrs in the end, because of 'timing' issues (you know, life happens) but in the end I think that only contributed to the yummy sourness. Soaking in the brine also softens the veggies nicely so they pack easily. Actually, in this brining step, you don't need to weight them down, but it doesn't hurt.
Mixed veggie ferment, step one

  I was lucky enough to have a plate that just fit snugly inside the pot!

Step 2 - scoop veggies out of the brine (reserve brine) and pack into a wide-mouth quart jar (or jars - more than one is fine; whatever it takes). [This would be where I would have added a sprinkling of peppercorns, had I remembered! I would have mixed them in with the veggies as I packed the jar.] Weight the veggies down, adding some reserved brine (if needed) so veggies are comfortably submerged.

Step 3 - let this sit at room temperature for about a week to ferment -- mine sat for 6-7 days. Again: if your jar is full, place it in a bowl so as to catch the overflow; when the veggies ferment, the liquid expands. The ferment will be most active in the first couple days. You'll see foam from bubbles form at the top. Nothing harmful; just scoop it away periodically if you like. If the brine level drops after a couple days, avoid adding fresh brine if you can; try pushing down on the weight to squeeze more juice from the veggies instead. Introducing fresh brine after the fermentation process has begun just introduces saltiness, which sort of counteracts your goal, which is for the brine-and-veggies to be souring. This is another argument in favor of filling two jars half-full instead of one to the top (like I did here); with the half-full jars, you can introduce a good inch of brine above veggie level and that will be more than sufficient to cover even with some evaporation for the fermentation period.
Mixed veggie ferment, step two

On the left, I had just packed the jar. On the right, it's a week later. Note how the pink of the watermelon radishes has given itself over to the brine, giving everything a lovely rosy color!

Step 4 - your fermented veggies are now ready to eat any time! Take out the weighting jar (or whatever you use) and taste some. Is it sour enough for you? Good. Then put a lid on it and stick it in your refrigerator. It will continue to ferment slowly in the fridge, which means it will continue to get better! It will keep for several weeks, even months (though typically it gets scarfed up way before then). Have a dish with lunch and help build up that healthy intestinal flora in your gut - this helps keep you well.
Mixed veggie verment, step three
Time for a yummy snack!

Final word: as Sandor Katz says, feel free to experiment with fermenting different veggies. You can start simple -- very simple, actually -- with just cabbage and salt, and make sauerkraut. Then try cabbage and other things: cabbage and caraway seed, or cabbage and fennel seed, or cabbage and cumin seed (that's what I want to try next!). You can also try cabbage and leek. Radishes and carrots are easy additions. Turnips would be too. Apple actually goes really well in a cabbage ferment too. You see, once you get the 'bug', you'll want to try different things. I always have some fermented veggie or other either on my counter or in the fridge (or both). :-)

Visit our website's calendar page for more details, including photos and videos of past events. This is a great way to get the flavor of what it is like visiting the farm!

Live Earth Farm Discovery Program for WEE ONES   
3rd Tuesday of every month, 10:30am - Noon [year-round]
(free for children 0 - 3 yrs; $10 - $15 per adult)
LEF Discovery Program logoMothers, fathers, grandparents, caretakers of any kind... bring the babe in your arms to experience the diversity of our beautiful organic farm here in Watsonville. We will use our five senses to get to know the natural world around us. The farm is home to over 50 different fruits and vegetables, chicks, chickens, goats, piglets, and the many wild members of the Pajaro watershed.

For more information, contact Jessica at the LEFDP office: (831) 728-2032 or email her at lefeducation@baymoon.com.  

Companion Bakers Sourdough Bread Workshops at LEF

February 13th (Sunday) -

Sourdough Basics: Companion Bakers "wood fired" Workshop

Happy Girl Kitchen Workshops at LEF
(all workshops include an organic lunch, as well as take-home items from what is made that day -- these workshops are not to be missed!)

Feb 5 (Saturday) - Farm Walk and Pickle Party a big success! 

Next HGK/LEF workshop coming soon - stay tuned!

Contact Jordan or Todd if you have any questions:

Community Farm Days and Events

April 23rd - Sheep to Shawl
May 28th - Community Farm Day and U-pick strawberries
June 18th - Summer Solstice Celebration
July 3rd (fingers crossed for this year's crop!) - Apricot U-pick
Aug 27th - Community Farm Day and U-pick tomatoes (our "Totally Tomatoes" day)
Sept 17th - LEFDP Fundraiser
Sept 24th - Community Farm Day and U-pick apples
Oct 22nd - Fall Harvest Festival and U-pick pumpkins

Medicinal Herb Walks/classes on the farm
Hidden in amongst the veges, lurking below the fruit trees, at home in the oak woodlands, and planted in the hedgerows, Live Earth Farm is chock-full of medicinal plants. With literally hundreds of plants useful for treating common maladies and maintaining vital health, Live Earth Farm is an incredible place to go for an herbal adventure. Consider joining herbalist Darren Huckle L.Ac for a monthly series of fun, informative, herb walks and classes in spring 2011 where you will learn how to identify, taste and safely and effectively use medicinal plants common in Northern California.

For more info, contact Darren Huckle at rootsofwellness@gmail.com or 831.334.5177

Contact Information
farm phone: (831) 763-2448
education programs/school field trips: (831) 728-2032